Leigh L. Klotz, Jr.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Joe Weizenbaum

I was saddened to read of the passing of Joe Weizenbaum.

One of my MIT admission essays was on his book Computer Power and Human Reason.

As a student (through the graces of Profs. Hal Abelson, Andy diSessa, Gerry Sussman, and Seymour Papert) I had an office in Tech Square, right near Prof. Weizenbaum, so I saw him nearly every day.

After nearly ten years, everyone agreed it was time for me to graduate, but I had a few courses I need to take that hadn't, and a few I didn't need to take that I had. Joe was head of the curriculum committee, and it was his last semester before retiring. He heard my petition for substitution, thought a bit, and signed off with, "Ve should haf done zis years ago."

So, I got into MIT because of Prof. Weizenbaum, but I graduated because of Joe.